23andMe: Connecting the dots

Creating a clear design language that connects a diverse range of people with their own genetic information

A leading company in personal genetics, 23andMe’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. As the company became more recognized around the world, questions arose about how it could extend its brand to reflect a diverse reach – spanning scientists and research facilities, as well as families at home.

One of 23andMe’s biggest challenges was to represent itself in a distinguishable and consistent fashion across all platforms and to all users. In 2015, 23andMe asked Idean, part of Capgemini Invent, to help create a coherent and emotionally engaging brand experience that would connect people in a personal and human way.

The inspiration behind 23andMe’s name and core theme guided us in our design exploration: the 23 pairs of chromosomes that comprise an individual’s genetic makeup, and which make each of us unique. Keeping the 23 pairs of chromosomes in mind, we created a visual design framework and an extensive style guide that included detailed iconography, color palettes, illustrations, and photo usage examples.

Four core principles steered our design process:

  • Decisive, not plain
  • Colorful, not chaotic
  • Familiar, not common
  • Planned, not predictable.

Along with the 23 pairs of chromosomes, another important aspect of our designs was the concept of what lies beneath the skin — the fascinating synthesis of chromosomes that come together to form a unique entity.

A revitalized connection

We created a brand experience that is reliable and distinguished, yet approachable and personal. It led to a 33% increase in new consumers and passed an important FDA review within a year of rebranding.

Read more about the 23andMe brand journey and graphic identity.

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23andMe: Connecting the dots
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